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So far James Cameron’s Avatar has gotten predictably mixed reviews. On one hand, the visuals and heroic story are grounds for A. O. Scott of the New York Times to rave “I had the feeling coming out of this movie that I haven’t felt since maybe I was eleven years old in 1977 and I saw Star Wars for the first time.” It has also been panned by critics like Kevin McCarthy for having a “derivative, unimaginative story and … shallow characters.” Says McCarthy, Avatar matches “terrific special effects with a lousy script — which is the way Hollywood has made many movies in the 32 years since Star Wars.”

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‘Tis the season of holiday parties, corporate and otherwise. On the longest night of the year my companion and I dropped in on the SPI Marketing holiday party at the Rootstein Mannequin Showroom on West 19th Street and 7th Ave in Chelsea.

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One fine afternoon in the early 00’s, after having consumed several beers, two hot dogs, and probably as many cheese burgers at the Gowanus Yacht Club, my companion and I stumbled down Union Street headed East to Park Slope. After we passed the canal I saw the following graffito on the side of a building: “Go anus”. Someone had done a reverse Letter Man and taken the “w”.

The canal itself has never been pleasant. One source says “The opaqueness of the Gowanus water obstructs sunlight to one third of the six feet needed for aquatic plant growth. Rising gas bubbles betray the decomposition of sewage sludge that on a ripe, warm day produces the canal’s notable stench.” The environs around it aren’t much better. After you pass Hoyt headed East, the nice front yards and townhouses of Carroll Gardens give place to many warehouses and factories, many of which appear abandoned. It was in one such abandoned warehouse turned crackin’ night spot — The Green Building — that my date and I caught Michael Arenella‘s Winter Ball last Saturday night.

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Cate Blanchett as Blanche Dubois

It seemed appropriate to be waiting on two self-described Southern belles to get into Streetcar at BAM last week. Nothing says “Southern” like being late to your own party. We were four, and at least three of us hail from south of the Mason-Dixon line, or as another of my Southern friends likes to call it the “Manson-Nixon” line. Ah the South! Home of pecan pie, obsessions with purity (mostly sexual), vowels longer than a summer sunset, religious revivals held in circus tents, Wal-Mart superstores, and — these days especially — widespread dependence on food stamps.

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Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate, Millennium Park, Chicago, Photo ©2009 Melody Mudd

The big bean known as Cloud Gate at Millennium Park in Chicago is so much fun to play with, espesh if you have a camera. It weighs 110 tons. One Hundred and Ten TONS. In other words, it is very heavy. It measures 66 feet long and 33 feet high. British artist Anish Kapoor created this awesome thing out of super highly polished stainless steel. It’s like seeing the Chicago skyline through a giant drop of water.